Legacy – The Best Format You’re Not Playing

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Today, a special treat for QS readers. Fan, reader, and fellow writer Chris Dube has kindly submitted an article about Legacy for your reading pleasure. Take a moment and read what this newcomer to the Magic journalism world has to say. We promise you'll love his engaging, personable style. Leave your feedback in the comments below, including whether or not you'd like to see more guest writers on


"Why should I play Legacy?" OMG, are you serious? Legacy is a smorgasbord of the greatest hits of Magic. Well…excluding the restricted titans of lore, such as Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, and the Moxen for those born after 1993. When it comes to nostalgia and newbies, you have it all right at your fingertips with a single format. Legacy. Can it be this good? Slap yourself later.

Enjoy stifling a Phyrexian Dreadnought into play and watching the carnage? How about going Natural Order, Progenitus, Good Freaking Game. Does Counterbalance plus Sensei’s Divining Top trip your trigger? You can play just about any deck imaginable under Magic's sun. Want to burn and turn? Play the ultimate Naya Zoo list. Don’t like casting spells much? Go Dredge. Control? Planeswalkers, Crucible of Worlds, Force of Will, and Standstill say "Hell Yes!" Thought Combo Elves was broken in Extended? You ain’t seen nothing yet. 43 lands in a deck? Sure, why not? There are so many playable, competitive decks in legacy the possibilities are endless. This format has something exceedingly fun for every type of player, but what about the cost?

Legacy is actually far more affordable than most people imagine. Yes, a complete set of the original duals now costs a cool grand or more depending upon their condition. Fetches, Forces, and Goyfs…oh my! Many older cards break the 10-20 dollar range, yet so do many standard legal cards that may have no legitimate reason for the price to begin with. I’m looking at you, Great Sable Stag. The most common problem for Legacy newcomers is the initial investment required. Most forlorn souls cry "it's too expensive"! What these people fail to realize is that Standard is just as expensive. Two popular standard decks from this past qualifier season were 5C Control and Merfolk. Their cost? 5 Color Control on average was 250 dollars depending on sideboard and The Baneslayer Question. Merfolk was about 215 dollars to construct. Just about every competative Standard deck was in that price range or higher. Let's compare that to a few Legacy decks.

Naya Zoo

4 Grim Lavamancer
4 Kird Ape
4 Qasali Pridemage
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Wild Nacatl
2 Woolly Thoctar
2 Sylvan Library
3 Fireblast
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Path To Exile
1 Umezawa's Jitte
3 Chain Lightning
1 Forest
1 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Bloodstained Mire
3 Horizon Canopy
2 Plateau
1 Savannah
3 Taiga
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

Total cost=$475

Counter Top Thresh

4 Sensei's Divining Top
2 Vedalken Shackles
4 Dark Confidant
2 Sower Of Temptation
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Trygon Predator
4 Counterbalance
4 Brainstorm
3 Daze
4 Force Of Will
1 Krosan Grip
4 Swords To Plowshares
2 Ponder
2 Island
4 Flooded Strand
4 Polluted Delta
3 Tropical Island
3 Tundra
4 Underground Sea

Total cost=$750


4 Wasteland
4 Mutavault
13 Islands
4 Merrow Reejerey
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Silvergill adept
4 Cursecatcher
3 Wake thrasher
4 Force of will
4 Standstill
4 Aether vial
3 Daze
3 Stifle
2 Umezawa's Jitte

Total cost=$275

You can play the Merfolk deck in Legacy for basically what it costs to play the higher-end Standard decks. Wait two years, when Standard flushes half or more of your chase rares down the tube and you'll have spent the same on a Counter Top Thresh list. Somewhere in the middle, after a year or so, you’ve invested the same in Standard as it would take to assemble Naya Zoo. In the end, if you play competitive Standard Magic for over two years, you could’ve built any Legacy list instead plus potentially more. A key note here - Legacy never rotates, so unless Magic goes the way of the Dodo, its staples will always go up in value. In terms of Magic, Legacy is a safe investment.

But, there are so many old cards! How am I even going to FIND all these old cards? Aren't the cards harder to find? Yes and no - If you have access to the internet and a bank account, you can easily use the myriad of online shops to order everything your little heart desires. This is the best and cheapest way. Lacking one or both of the two aforementioned items, the local level is where your quest begins. Things can get tricky from here. In most metropolitan areas, you can find dealers or older generation players who will have what you seek. Not the case for you? Live on the southern frontier of Antarctica, or in Wyoming? Plan on making a trip to the largest Magic event nearest you and hope there are enough traders around to fulfill your 75 card quota. Try an event for an older format as well. Limited and Standard events below GP size or larger will not have what you want. Be careful trading at these bigger events. They can be filled with sharks. Make sure you do some research like reading this site and know the value of your cards and the ones you want. In Magic trading, knowing is all the battle and half the war.

Being a Legacy player has never been better. Wizards is printing cards you need, like enemy fetches in Zendikar and prize support is pretty darn good. StarCityGames unveiled its 5K tournament series this year. Wizards has had at least one GP dedicated to Legacy each of the past two years, and there is no sign that’s going to stop anytime soon. With these large organizations supporting Legacy the player base should grow and in turn help local events become more viable. More players means more tournaments which means more prizes. Overall, the format is healthy, open, powerful enough to be interesting, and well-supported. While it might be tough to qualify for the Pro Tour by Legacy alone, the format is a great investment in the game we all love and a great adventure for anyone who loves Magic. You can play cards from your youth alongside today's big hits, and you can rest assured that almost every card you use will retain its value for the long haul.

Chris Dube is a Magic-playing American Ex-Pat from Wisconsin who is making a living teaching English to Koreans overseas. He's been loving Legacy and long walks on Dominarian beaches since 1997 and once, he even won a real Mox Ruby at a Legacy tournament!

Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

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3 thoughts on “Legacy – The Best Format You’re Not Playing

  1. Good read, enjoyed the style, and hey I think I played against a deck of yours similar to the Naya Zoo when you were back in Wisconsin. If you get tired of the expat life I bet Team Hitmen would pick you back up right away.

  2. Legacy isn't nearly that bad to get into, especially compared to standard. But even easier to get into is vintage, while the decks are more complicated, and the cards much more expensive; unless you live outside the US, 9/10 tournaments are 10+ proxy, meaning all you have to own/borrow are the staples in the format. Lots of vintage players don't even own duals, they just proxy them. Decks like Ichorid can be made with the most expensive card being Ichorid.

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